DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gators' dive coach Pipitone earns award

Winning an award for coaching is a great achievement, but it’s how you get there that just might be even more special.
That is how Xavier Prep diving coach Frank Pipitone looks at it.
“A kid with good character might be better than one with good diving skills,’’ Pipitone said Monday (July 10) after being notified of his selection as the Girls Diving Coach of the Year for the 2015-16 school year by the Arizona Interscholastic Swim and Dive Coaches Association.
Pipitone, who will be coaching his sixth season at Xavier in the fall (he also coaches the Brophy Prep divers), said the character of the Xavier goals “is so far above the standard that it makes a coach’s job a lot easier.’’
The award winner is chosen by the state’s coaches “and it’s nice to be recognized,’’ Pipitone said.
The best part for Pipitone is watching a meet where his athletes implement a dive that they have seldom used because they are learning, and then have them post a decent score.
“Of course, you want to win, but when you see them dive and come up with their head above the water with a big smile on their face, they can tell they did a good job and it means they are learning. Those types of things are why I coach,’’ he said.
A school is allowed to send only four divers to the state meet. Xavier had four divers (three sophomores and a freshman) finish fourth, seventh, 17th and 18th. Divers qualify by reaching a certain provisional point total during the regular season.
“That’s one thing that makes my job more of a challenge is when you have even more than four girls reach that point total and you can take only four. But it’s a good problem to have,’’ Pipitone said.
He is looking for more of the same this fall.
“We’ll be competitive,’’ he said.
Official practices are due to begin around the second week of August. 

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